My first reaction to the news of Stalin and Hitler signing the Nazi-Soviet Pact, I had so many thoughts in my head. I had a wired feeling about this and then it hit me, has the leader joined forces with our enemy? I refused to believe that he meant to guide us to a powerful future.
Now, who could and would lead Russia next I kept on asking myself. After all the thought running through my head, Stalin, evolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union, decided he was fit to be the new tsar. A couple of years later, the Party Central Committee decided to shrink the number of soldiers in the red army. I was one of the people who sent how and watching others get set home as well was a nightmare. In 1928, Stalin’s ideas of a kolkhoz were a shock in the peasant world. These collective farms consisted of multiple families to run 450 hectares of farmland together which seem impossible. All of us were told that these farms were more efficient than the previous farms to mend the grain shortage and such. By 1930 Stalin had known of another famine to come and clearly didn’t think about the plans to move forward. The peasants had begun killing animals and destroyed crops to fight back against collectivization. And then yet again another food shortage, Stalin has shown the first Five Year Plan, a plan to somehow industrialize Russia.
By the end of 1930, labor camps called Gulags covered every part of the USSR. There were camps in remote areas of the country, as well as in towns and in public. Camps were in horrible condition. We were all forced to work under horrific conditions because of Stalin’s own mistakes. In addition, I heard all the rumors about the Kolyma camps. Thousands of prisoners, or zeks, as we called ourselves, died due to the atrocious conditions of the camps. Other prisoners beside me muttered under their ignorant lips, “It’s the stories about the Kolyma camps that make me grateful for where I am.” I could only sigh, look away, and continue to work.
Sergei Kirov was murdered on December 1, Stalin issued orders which said that anyone accused of “terrorism” must be investigated and executed after conviction without right or defense. Letters were sent all over the USSR to check the reliability of the people, and if they were supporters of Trotsky. This meant that I was in danger. I could not bring myself to support the failure of a leader like Stalin. Trotsky has always been reasonable, and I’ve always agreed with him. Anyone who criticized Stalin or failed to denounce suspicious people was arrested and executed. This became the Great Purge which wrung chaos on us like a bloody, soaked towel.
Stalin formed an alliance with Hitler and signed a Nazi-Soviet Pact because Britain and France did not join the USSR as mutual assistance. Stalin’s actions until this point areas if we took a step back in history. Everything I have experienced—Witnessing my father’s death, joining the Red Army to fight against Tsar Nicholas II, and suffering in the gulags – It seems that none of that matters now. The reign of Stalin will surely not advance Russia.